Unknowns await in Indiana before Vols face Beavers on Friday

Southeastern Conference photo / Tennessee basketball coach Rick Barnes, shown during Saturday's 73-68 loss to Alabama in the SEC tournament semifinals in Nashville, has no idea what the itinerary will be after his Volunteers arrive in Indianapolis on Monday afternoon. The Vols open NCAA play Friday against Oregon State.

The 23rd NCAA tournament appearance in Tennessee men's basketball history will also be the 25th for Rick Barnes as a head coach.

Neither Barnes nor the Volunteers, however, have been through a 68-team extravaganza like this one.

Tennessee was selected as the fifth seed in the Midwest Region and will face 12th-seeded Oregon State at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on TNT. The Vols remained in Nashville after Saturday's 73-68 loss to Alabama during the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament, and they were scheduled to bus from the Music City to Indianapolis on Monday morning.

After that, it's any guess how the first NCAA tournament staged during the coronavirus pandemic transpires.

"I don't know," Barnes admitted Sunday night on a Zoom call.